7. Amidst Disasters I Saw God’s Righteous Disposition
Li Jing, Beijing
August 7, 2012
On that day, it started raining in the morning. I went to a meeting at a brother’s house, while the rain kept getting heavier and heavier. By afternoon it was pouring down as though straight from the heavens. By the time we finished our meeting, the rain had entered my brother’s courtyard, but because I was worried about my family, I struggled on home. Halfway there, some people fleeing the danger said to me, “Are you not running away, are you still going home?” When I got home, my child asked, “Did the flood not wash you away?” Only then did I know that I didn’t have God in my heart. Not long after, the husband of my neighboring sister climbed up onto the roof, and saw that houses not far from our own had been washed away. The current was getting stronger, and the sister’s husband insisted that they lead their child up to the mountain, but she wouldn’t go. We few sisters discussed it amongst ourselves, that the sister’s husband arguing like this contained God’s will; only then did we follow him to a railroad house on the mountain top to spend the night. There, we heard from those who had fled the disaster how turbulent the floodwaters were, and how people had gone in all directions; some had climbed the rooftops, some were washed away, some were stopped by trees …
The next day I went to see a sister. Her house was by the riverside, with a big road in front and the river behind. Her house was right in the center of the two converging sides of the floodwaters. When the flood came, this sister prayed to God, and relied on Him. The waters washed away all the other houses in her row, leaving only hers and one other unscathed while she slept a sound night’s sleep. I truly saw that when one has God’s protection, one can rest easy in their heart.
A sister came to find the deacon in charge of general affairs and me, and we went to check on the house with the church goods. Because the waters had washed away the bridge and road, we could only get there by going around the long way. Along the way, looking at the “looted” village, coupled with the landslides and mud-rock flow, it was truly a miserable scene; everywhere devastation met the eye. We walked along and looked around, and saw a place where some brothers’ and sisters’ houses had been swept away, and some others had been left to remain. Those that were left were all those of brothers and sisters who fulfilled their duties. This showed me that when people believe in God, only when they seek truth and fulfill their duties will they obtain God’s protection, and survive amidst disasters. In one village, there were only two houses remaining, that of an old brother, and one other house. As the floodwaters came, the old brother saw that the flood was going to topple his house, so from the top of the mountain he shouted loudly twice, “God! My books of God’s word are inside!” He then saw how the floodwaters miraculously let his house remain, and the books of God’s word were also preserved. There was a sister whose house was a meeting place, and who always actively fulfilled her duty. Even though the waters flooded over her entire body, she was not hurt at all. The flood washed away her child, but he was grabbed by an unbeliever and was not washed away after all. An old sister saw that the waters were nearly at the door, that they had already washed away a vegetable garden not far from the house. So she prayed to God, and the waters, which had broken the dams that had held for many years, were redirected, leaving her house remaining. There were two sisters who did not seek, and the floodwaters left their houses remaining, but washed away the courtyards. One sister could not reconcile herself to her hosting duty, she said her family had to get the house repaired, and so she drove out the brothers and sisters; her books of God’s word were all washed away. There was another sister who, although she fulfilled her duty, said that “in my heart I am not willing.” During the disaster she was engulfed by water and swallowed up by mud-rock flow, and a stone tore a hole in her guts. She cried out again and again to God, and the waters washed her to a big tree, stopping her and saving her life. Her wound became infected, and she had to undergo another operation. There was also a brother who acted just as he pleased; whenever there was something that needed doing at home, he would not fulfill his duty. During the disaster he suffered the most seriously; the flood washed away both of his two houses, leaving him with two uninhabitable rooms. Of the books of God’s word, not a single one remained. The brother also came to know that this was God’s love, and did not lay blame.
The hymn of God’s words “God Is the Sole Foundation of Man’s Existence” sings: “When the waters swallow men whole, God saves them from the stagnant waters. When men lose their confidence to live, God reaches out His saving hand to pull them up from the brink of death, granting them the courage to live, that they take God as the foundation of their existence. When men disobey God, He causes them to know Him in their disobedience. In light of humanity’s old nature and in light of God’s mercy, rather than putting humans to death, God allows them to repent and make a fresh start. When men suffer famine, God wrests them from death so long as they have one breath left, and gives them a chance to have life anew, so that they can wake up and not fall prey to Satan’s trickery. How many times have people seen God’s hands; how many times have they seen His kind countenance, seen His smiling face; and how many times have they seen His majesty, seen His wrath. Though humanity has never known Him, God does not seize upon their weaknesses to make unnecessary trouble. Experiencing humanity’s hardships, God thus sympathizes with man’s weakness. It is only in response to men’s disobedience, their ingratitude, that God metes out chastisement in varying degrees. Rather than putting humans to death, God allows them to repent and make a fresh start. When men suffer famine, God wrests them from death.” Amidst this disaster, we saw God’s almightiness and wondrousness, which further strengthened our faith in walking the future path. When God emitted His great wrath, we saw God’s disposition, which cannot be offended. Only because of people’s rebellion, and their ingratitude, does God give people varying degrees of chastisement. However, God uses disasters to make us come to our senses; He is not putting people to death, but is letting people repent and make a fresh start. This disaster has let us see God’s righteous disposition, see His love, His salvation, and even more so it has let me see both God’s almightiness and His domination. Those people who sincerely seek the truth, who are willing to fulfill their duties and expend for God, gain God’s care and protection. Those who are perfunctory, who complain and resist, who are not willing to do their duties or expend for God, gain the retribution they deserve. It is duty that protects us! It is duty that blesses us! May God give us the faith, courage, strength and wisdom to enable us, on the future road, to remain earnest and well-grounded in completing what He entrusts to us, and to let us, for each and every duty, do our best.
We would like to tell these facts witnessed with our own eyes to everyone: God is the sole foundation of our existence. All the glory, wealth, fame and fortune in the world is as transient as fleeting clouds. At the moment when the floodwaters swallowed up human life, the lives of man were so insignificant and feeble. Even the very rich and famous were powerless. When we called out for help, only God could reach out a hand of salvation, and pull those who sincerely believe in Him back from death’s precipice. Brothers and sisters, please grasp the duty that God gives us. Let us, in the final days, be completely loyal, and offer our own strength for the expansion of the kingdom gospel.